Elevated lead levels found in water at 2 Amherst schools

Problem only appears in "first draw" samples at Wildwood and Fort River schools

wildwood-school-amherst
The Wildwood School in Amherst is seen here in a WWLP file image from January 2016.

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Two Amherst schools recently tested for elevated levels of lead in their drinking water.

The Amherst-Pelham Regional School District has been voluntarily participating in a state water-testing program. The testing looks at whether there is any lead or copper getting into the drinking water at the taps or fixtures.

Amherst Health Department Director Julie Federman told 22News that taps at the Wildwood and Fort River schools recently tested at levels above the federal action level at 15 parts per billion.

However, Federman said that these were the first draw samples: meaning that the water had been sitting overnight in the pipes. She said that at both schools, after water was flushed through for 30 seconds, the new samples were below the federal limits.

Parent David Mednicoff told 22News that he is confident in the school and the town taking care of the issue.

“We have a fifth grader who has been in the school for a while, we have a long relationship with the school, so I think we feel pretty confident that this will be solved and worked out pretty quickly. But you know, in the short run got to definitely pack a lot of water and make sure they let us know what’s going on. But he’ll be okay, he’ll be careful,” Mednicoff said.

Federman said that they do not think that the water itself has lead in it. The schools can have more than 70 fixtures that need to be checked or changed.

The Crocker Farm School also tested above federal limits last month. Test results for other schools in the region are expected to be released soon.

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